Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Work of Art: The Next Great Artist
I knew it!! Years ago when I first got hooked on reality shows as a source of inspiration for my work, I would comment weekly that there needed to be one for artists. My 2007 painting, “America’s Next Minimalist Art Star” made fun of just that concept. Well….on June 9th, Bravo TV will launch its version of an artist reality show, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist that is being co-produced by Sarah Jessica Parker and her company “Pretty Matches.”
Google searches will tell you who the judges are and what are the prizes, and who is the host. The host of the show and one of the judges is China Chow, some model, actress, fashionista celebrity socialite. Careful if you Google her at work though, most of initial images show her topless or close to it. Yep, just what the art world needs in regard to quality decision making but perhaps that ties in with life drawing or something. A few quick video clips and one can see that the typical casting decisions came into play as far as the contestants were concerned. I am rooting for Judith however, the oldster of the bunch who started her career in 1965. She can’t win because she won’t appeal to the demographic, but she will be kept around to harass the youngsters for quite a while most likely.
Casting took place in LA, Miami, Chicago and New York during the summer of 2009 with lines of artists and their wares waiting in lawn chairs outside of various venues. One person even flew over from Asia (which makes the whole “America’s Next….” concept invalid as far as I am concerned). The casting agents wanted young or mid-career artists in the areas of painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography and mixed media ending with 14 people chosen to kick off the episodes on June 9th at 10pm on Bravo. Previews are airing now on the Bravo channel.
Following the Bravo format, contestants get some kind of quick challenge to compete for a prize or an advantage and then the longer elimination activity occurs that often has a “last minute twist” thrown in. Now kiddies, after 9 years of reality TV, which you just know these contestants watched growing up, how they can still pretend to be surprise by this is beyond me. I guess that is all part of the script. I have not seen all the contestants yet, nor do I want to before the debut, but the standard formula appears to still be in place. The diverse skin tones and nationalities are represented, the doe-eyed girl every one picks on, the divas (both male and female), the self righteous, the over the top out of the closet and in your face with a chip on their shoulder entrant, and others tossed in to be voted off early usually because they aren’t “marketable” by the producers. Read the fine print on the judging aspects for these shows and it will state that the producers have input as to who stays and who goes.
Prizes for the winner are a gallery show, a cash award, and sponsorship in a national museum show. What? No makeover? The quick video clips showed a lot of smashing of things, throwing veggies onto a canvas, crying contestants, swear words all over the place, and lots of attitude by young people, oh, and quite a few crucifixion images. At least nobody had a huge mini mouse bow in her hair like the recent hair stylist show. Seriously, would you get your hair done by some middle aged babe in a tutu like dress and an oversized bow in her hair? I guess talent comes in all forms and is not ours to be judged. We can leave that up to the experts whose names have probably been released by now, but again, I like to be surprised. The mentor to the contestants will be Simon de Pury, chairman of the auction house Phillips de Pury who has been allowed to do interviews about the show. Which brings to mind the whole of idea of how do we judge art, that continuous Catch 22 of the art business? Are the judges looking for craftsmanship, statement, time constraints, marketability, gullibility, vulnerability…..the criteria used will be quite interesting as will be the Thursday morning quarterbacking (maybe we should say framing as sports and art tend to not be happy roommates) from my blogosphere brethren and the message board mavens.
So fellow local artists, perhaps we should band together for one of those viewing party events where everybody gathers around a TV and does a shot each time somebody drops an F-bomb, or cries, or rolls their eyes….take your pick. I hear such events are pretty popular among the younger crowd. Maybe for us oldsters, we could swipe a brush across a canvas instead or toss a few veggies…no wait, I need those veggies at my age. Never mind, I am sure whoever wins will be America’s best representative of the new generation….although I think most of our viable candidates are back in their studios working day in and day out, not sitting on the street corner painting a nude lady with swirls of blue….I kid you not, one of the aspiring stars was doing just that to get his turn in front of the casting team. Too bad I won’t be near a TV for most of the summer and will have to miss all the drama….ummm…creativity that will happen every Wednesday night!